I’ve long believed it’s important to make my writing goals public. First, knowing that others know what I’m attempting helps hold my feet to the fire. Second, publishing my own goals might help other writers set their writing goals.
But remember, the overall goal of writing in the first place is to have fun. Seriously, if you don’t enjoy writing, find something else to do. (grin)
So here goes….
My personal writing goals for 2020 and beyond, strictly for the fun of it (to relieve the pressure a bit), are as follows:
1. Write at least one short story per week every week for 72 weeks beginning on Sunday, January 5, 2020. (The end date of the challenge, should I choose to end it then, will be Saturday, May 22, 2020. Yeah, I actually took the time to count out the weeks. Hope I didn’t screw it up.)
2. Write at least one novel per month during the same time frame. So 17 novels in 17 months. (The beginning date would be January 1, 2020, and the closing date, should I choose to end it then, would be May 31.)
Does that seem like a lot? Maybe. But it really isn’t.
And really, this gives me a boatload of short-term and long-term goals:
- A weekly goal of a short story every week.
- So that’s an annual goal of 52 short stories in 2020, plus the extended overall goal of 72 short stories in 72 weeks to break my previous personal best. And I might go for 78 short stories in 78 weeks just to make it an even year and a half. (grin)
- A monthly goal of 1 novel every month.
- So that’s an annual goal of 12 novels in a year (I’ve never quite done that), plus the extended overall goal of 17 novels in 17 months (or 18 in 18).
And all of this is totally do-able. Even if I write only 2000 words per day on average (two hours of writing per day) that’s 60,000 words per month. Subtract four 2000 word short stories (minimum length), that leaves a novel of 52,000 words. And when I’m writing, I usually write a lot more than 2000 words per day.
The Rules and Caveats
1. For purposes of the challenge, each short story must be at least 2000 words. Each short story has to be written within that Sunday-to-Saturday week.
2. For purposes of the challenge, each novel must be at least 35,000 words. Each novel has to be written during that calendar month. (So my current WIP doesn’t count for the challenge unless I finish it by December 31. If I do finish it by then, and it looks like I will, my novel challenge expands to 18 novels in 18 months.)
3. You might have noticed I’m focusing here on Heinlein’s Rules 1–3. I haven’t said anything about publishing (Heinlein’s Rule 4). Publishing is important, but for a goal of this magnitude, publishing must be secondary to writing. So…
a. I’ll publish every novel sometime during the month after it’s finished. (But my patrons will receive it as it’s finished.)
b. I’ll hold off on publishing the individual short stories. Instead I’ll send them to my wife and publishing partner for submission to major traditional-publishing magazine markets (and of course, to my patrons). To qualify as a professional magazine market, they must pay at least 5 cents per word and all rights must revert within a year at the longest.
So there you go. It should be fun to see how long I can last in the overall challenges and how close I can get to reaching each goal (week by week and month by month).
So what crazy thing(s) are you planning with your writing goals for 2020 and beyond? Don’t measure yourself against me unless you’re an old guy or gal with a lot of time on your hands (grin).
Just create a goal or goals that will cause you to stretch without breaking. And please share that goal or goals in a comment below. You never know who you might help along the way.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention where my patrons figure in all of this. They are increasingly playing a larger role than either this blog or my Journal in holding my feet to the fire. These folks are sending me money or contributing in other ways.
So as they have from the beginning, those on my Patrons list will receive a copy of every novel and every short story I finish during this challenge as I finish it. That means they’ll receive it in PDF, .mobi (Kindle) or .epub (Nook/Apple) format, albeit probably without a cover. (I’ve thought this out: see Caveat 3 a. and b. above).
If you aren’t yet a patron but have been considering it, this would be a great time to jump in for as little as $3 per month. If you’re interested, take a look at https://harveystanbrough.com/be-a-patron/.
‘Til next time, happy writing!